Sanskrit; 3 Definition(s)

Introduction

Sanskrit means something in Buddhism, Pali, Hinduism, Sanskrit. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Mīmāṃsā (school of philosophy)

Sanskrit.—According to Mīmāṃsa the meaning (artha) of Sanskrit words is intrinsic to them by their very nature and not dependant upon human agency—i.e. The meaning is not dependant upon the collective decision of people. If this were not so, we would have an “Alice in wonderland” situation where words mean whatever the speaker wants then to mean—in which case communication becomes impossible. Even if we accept this as given—there is still the compounding problem of interpretation in translation—every translator also acts wittingly or unwittingly as an interpreter of the message, and because every Sanskrit word has at least 10 different meanings every translator has interpreted the text according to their own agenda based upon:—

  1. svabhāva—nature
  2. bhūmika —level of attainment or expertise
  3. adhikāra —authority to interpret or to explain the subject matter.
(Source): Srimatham: Mīmāṃsa: The Study of Hindu Exegesis
context information

Mīmāṃsā (मीमांसा, mimamsa) refers to one of the six orthodox Hindu schools of philosophy, emphasizing the nature of dharma and the philosophy of language. The literature in this school is also known for its in-depth study of ritual actions and social duties.

In Buddhism

Mahayana (major branch of Buddhism)

Sanskrit is considered the most important (among the 4 four great and special canonical languages) and is known as the divine language [lha’i skad], the language that all buddhas of the three times spoke in the past, are speaking in the present and will speak in the future.

(Source): Kunpal: Shantideva's Bodhisattva-charyavatara
Mahayana book cover
context information

Mahayana (महायान, mahāyāna) is a major branch of Buddhism focusing on the path of a Bodhisattva (spiritual aspirants/ enlightened beings). Extant literature is vast and primarely composed in the Sanskrit language. There are many sūtras of which some of the earliest are the various Prajñāpāramitā sūtras.

General definition (in Buddhism)

Brahma letters. The classical Aryan language of ancient India, systematized by scholars. With the exception of a few ancient translations probably from Pali versions, most of the original texts in Buddhism used in China were Sanskrit.(Source): Buddhist Door: Glossary

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